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Old 06-28-11, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jdon View Post
Unfortunately, North American cities are designed around the automobile so we will never be what Europe is. They don't travel distances to shop, work or play like we do. The villages are closer together and self contained so you really can live where you work. Commuting by bicycle is relatively easy. The roads are narrow and are not speed friendly and the bicycle has a much stronger foothold than here.

I was in Cambridge UK and drove to Southampton to meet a friend to pick up some antique aircraft parts, back up to Stanstead and down to a village just East of London to have dinner with relatives. When I told them what I did with my day, the were astounded by the distance travelled. "What? In one day?"
You know, the modern practical automobile came about in 1885, automobiles didn't become ubiquitous until after the Second World War, so cities designed exclusively around automobile travel, are actually fairly recent, although people have been living in settlements for over 10,000 years. You can often see remnants of pre-car cities, parts of Toronto, Montreal, Quebec city, Boston, Philidelphia, New York that are designed much like European cities. There are no garages, there are no off-street parking areas, buildings are built tall and narrow, to increase density, because many of these places were self contained. For the majority of residents, if you drew a circle around the place where they were born that was 10km in diameter, they were, born, raised, went to school, got married, worked, raised a family, died and were buried, all within that circle. Walking from one side to the other, would take about 1 hours on foot, so it wasn't a big deal. Of course in the 1950's when the car became ubiquitous, you now needed places for all the cars, and cities started to spread out, not for any reason other then to provide parking for cars. Unfortunately that meant that distances got so far from place to place that you now needed a car to get anywhere. Eventually the car era, much as we think now, that it can't possibly ever end, will end,gas prices on a day to day basis will go up and down, but if you look at them over long periods of time, they only really go one way, UP. Eventually the price of gas, will exceed what people can afford to pay for it, and that will signal the beginning of the end of the automobile era.
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